It’s no secret that the Tourism Industry in Papua New Guinea has long been a sleeping giant. Compered to neighbors Fiji, whose booming industry dominates visitor arrivals into the region, the country has long been plagued with issues hindering the industry’s growth such as; law and order and high costs of travel.
Regardless, industry stakeholders are determined to change perceptions and capitalise on opportunities presented by the booming Asian market.
This morning at the National Tourism Conference, appropriately held at the newest hotel in Port Moresby, The Stanley Hotel, stakeholders from the Papua New Guinean and greater South Pacific Tourism Industry, discussed Tourism for Development and the abounding opportunities available.
Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Tobias Kulang, addressed the challenges that the Papua New Guinean industry is facing, stating that because a great part of our vast country is undiscovered, it is also sadly, undeveloped, which hinders the growth of the tourism Industry.
Though the country is described as Paradise and an island of gold floating on a sea of oil and gas, the fledgling industry contributes less than two percent to the economy.
Law and order issues, high costs of domestic travel and accommodation deter many visitors away from Papua New Guinea and to our neighbors in the South Pacific.
Experts from around the region have discovered a growing change of dynamics in the industry, particularly a growing market in the Asia Pacific region.
In 2015, international tourist arrivals grew by a whopping 4.4 percent, reaching a record 1.2 billion and the first quarter of this year saw an above average growth with destinations worldwide receiving 348 million international tourists, some 18 million more than the same period last year. Studies indicate that 23 percent of these visitors were from the Asia-Pacific market.
According to Chris Flynn, Regional Director, opportunity is just up the road. The industry is no longer a sleeping giant but a standing giant that needs to be looked after and grown.